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Sensors for Corrosion Monitoring in Harsh Environments

Date Posted
USPN 11,262,289


Research is active on the development of sensors for use in early detection and quantification of corrosion degradation. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.


Monitoring of corrosion in harsh environments—including pipelines, wellbores and wells, geological formations, and underwater/subsurface offshore reserves—is important for a range of fossil energy related applications. These applications include unconventional, deep, and ultra-deep oil and natural gas resource recovery through drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques; environmental monitoring in reservoirs for CO2 storage; and transmission and delivery of natural gas through the existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure. Subsurface conditions are challenging environments for development and deployment of sensing technologies due to a combination of extreme temperatures and/or pressures, as well as the presence of potential high salinity and chemically corrosive substances.

Traditional technologies, such as electrochemical-based sensors, are not suitable for use in environments with intense pressures, temperatures and corrosive potential. Moreover, conventional sensors often fail due to instabilities associated with packaging, wires, and interconnects. Additionally, current sensing approaches are not ideally suited for wide area monitoring due to the need for a direct electrical connection at the sensing location. New sensing approaches that permit monitoring over wide areas are critically needed.

The sensing methods under development eliminate these concerns while offering safety advantages and compatibility with scalable semiconductor-based manufacturing techniques. Additionally, these advanced sensor platforms that are capable of wireless and distributed early corrosion detection. Deployment of sensors using this technology will allow for embedded, real-time, remote corrosion sensing capabilities in extreme subsurface environments.

  • High stability sensor devices allow for corrosion monitoring in harsh environments at high temperature and high pressure
  • Allows for remote, wireless early onset corrosion monitoring over a wide distribution area
  • Potential for multi-parameter functionality (e.g., corrosion, temperature, pressure)
  • Compatible with scalable semiconductor-based manufacture techniques
  • Corrosion monitoring for a wide range of critical infrastructure including: natural gas pipelines, electricity transmission and distribution networks, oil and natural gas wells and wellbores, water pipelines, bridges, and buildings
  • Corrosion monitoring in harsh environments such as turbines, gas combustion chambers, nuclear reactors, and boilers

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